Netflix 4K Streaming issues

mr_norris

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Jun 12, 2007
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I am puzzled beyond belief. I don't know how long this post will be, so I've added a tl;dr; at the bottom. I am hoping someone has had the same issue as me, or has some ideas on what I can do to sort this out.

The timeline of what's been happening:

- Last year October, I had a 4Mbps ADSL line and signed up for Netflix (the HD package). Things were good.
- I upgraded my ADSL line to 10 Mbps, things were still good
- I got Fibre, started out with 10 Mbps
- I then upgraded my Netflix account to the premium package, so I could experience 4K goodness. 4K content is pretty touch and go, but I'll explain further down
- I got frustrated with the resolution being unstable, and upgraded my line to 40Mbps. I was hoping brute force would solve the issue, it didn't.

So what happens is the streaming starts out normally, where the resolution slowly goes up. It hits 4K reasonably fast, but soon after that, stability goes pear. It'll switch resolutions from 4K, to 480p, and anything in between. It's highly distracting going from a crisp image to a fuzzy one, within seconds. It goes up and down all the time, never settles.

Something I must stress is that it's 4K content only. 1080p content is fine. If I start something, it'll make its way up to 1080p, and stick there. Just last night I was watching a 1080p show, and it settled on 7.15Mbps (give or take a bit). 4K will go up to just over 15 Mbps, but the fluctuations are weird.

What I've done to troubleshoot (at least what I can remember):

- Reset my router
- Turned on and off QoS settings (for some reason the last time I reset my router it had enabled Smart QoS, but who knows what that does).
- Connected my TV to the router via Ethernet cable
- Changed my DNS server to the CloudFlare one
- Reset my TV
- Tried the Netflix app on my PS4 (I mainly use the Netflix app on my TV)

I have made sure that nothing else is downloading at the time. I have switched what I can off. My router has an app where you can see live bandwidth usage, and traffic is pretty touch and go when it happens. When things work well, it'll use most of my line intermittently, otherwise when things go pear, traffic dies.

Mr router: Asus DSL-AC56U
My TV: 49MU7351 (can't link to Samsung's website because they don't list the model there, I am assuming it's pretty close to the MU7350)

I have tried both "high" and "auto" in the Netflix profile quality settings. I get the same results.

I use Afrihost, which I suspected may be the issue. I have a capped account with them. If they were throttling me, I would expect similar issues with 1080p content. So that just doesn't add up. Other than trying a different ISP, I feel like my only option is to downgrade my account so I'm limited to 1080p, but that's not something I'd like to do. 4K content in Youtube is fine. This seems to be a Netflix only issue.

tl;dr; I can stream 1080p content just fine, but 4K content is highly unstable. Not sure why.
 

Mike Hoxbig

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Apr 25, 2010
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What does a speedtest to fast.com (Netflix's own speed test) give you?

And what do your international speed tests on speedtest.net look like?

Could be that your international speeds are unstable. With 1080p content it is capped at a certain speed and Netflix won't attempt to break that threshold. Your speeds could be stable up to HD quality.

However when you're trying to stream 4k, they recommend 25Mbps, and it could be that when attempting these speeds, your connection is more unstable...
 

SauRoNZA

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Jul 6, 2010
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Who is your ISP?

You really don't need more than 16 Mbps to manage 4K Netflix streams.

I'm betting your ISP sucks and doesn't have a local Netflix CDN.
 

R Club

Member
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Aug 29, 2018
Messages
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Hi
I had similar issues on my LG TV, where YouTube 4K streamed perfectly but Netflix was crappy. Tried various settings on router and on Netflix account with no change. Have always preferred a wired connection and so didn't think it was that. I eventually exited and signed out of the Netflix app and then signed in again. Worked perfectly after that. Maybe just a coincidence with other things done but worth a try.
The DNS might be an issue too as when I was using ExpressVPN's DNS service I could never get stable UHD on US Netflix. Their Tech support mentioned that is the max speed their servers could support for my connection, alternatively I should upgrade my line speed - I was already on 50Mbs and didnt think it was worth it. I have since reverted to SA Netflix.
 

R Club

Member
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Aug 29, 2018
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Also search for the "Test Patterns" videos on Netflix. When you played, it incrementally steps up the resolution and displays it so you can see what speed you streaming. Also helpful for checking your AV sync, surround sound etc
 

mr_norris

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Jun 12, 2007
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3,491
What does a speedtest to fast.com (Netflix's own speed test) give you?

And what do your international speed tests on speedtest.net look like?

Could be that your international speeds are unstable. With 1080p content it is capped at a certain speed and Netflix won't attempt to break that threshold. Your speeds could be stable up to HD quality.

However when you're trying to stream 4k, they recommend 25Mbps, and it could be that when attempting these speeds, your connection is more unstable...

Fast.com reports about 38Mbps. Pretty close to 40. I will test international speed tests tonight and post the result here.

I won't rule out an unstable connection, but it is strange. It's only very specific circumstances (4K) where things go pear. Everything else (steam downloads, FTP, Youtube, etc) will use my full linespeed.

Or test with different ISP.

That's something I suspect I'll end up doing.

Who is your ISP?

You really don't need more than 16 Mbps to manage 4K Netflix streams.

I'm betting your ISP sucks and doesn't have a local Netflix CDN.

Afrihost (I know a ton of people hate them, but they've treated me well). One thing I didn't try was use Afrihosts DNS server. I'm not sure if it makes a difference, but I've only ever used Googles or CloudFares.

Have always preferred a wired connection and so didn't think it was that. I eventually exited and signed out of the Netflix app and then signed in again. Worked perfectly after that. Maybe just a coincidence with other things done but worth a try.

Thanks, I'll try that.

Also search for the "Test Patterns" videos on Netflix. When you played, it incrementally steps up the resolution and displays it so you can see what speed you streaming. Also helpful for checking your AV sync, surround sound etc

I tried those test patterns yonks ago, so long ago that I don't remember the results. Will give it another bash tonight and post my results.

Thanks for the advice so far guys :D
 

SauRoNZA

Honorary Master
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Jul 6, 2010
Messages
40,812
If you don’t use their DNS odds are it won’t route Netflix traffic to their internal CDN (assuming they have one).

So start there.
 

Budza

Executive Member
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Oct 14, 2008
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8,321
From Browser:

CRTL+ALT+SHFT+S = Bitrate + CDN options, related to quality.

Force the highest one, see what happens...
 

bakkies

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May 11, 2010
Messages
300
i had a problem where i was using the wrong hdmi port with an nvidia shield tv.Couldnt pick up 4k in the netflix app switched to hdmi 3 on a samsumg tv
 

Pineapple Smurf

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Aug 2, 2016
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39,725
Could it not be a contention ratio that is affecting your streaming. Most ISP's use a 20:1 contention ratio at home. I'm lucky on my ISP as I am the only person left on the wireless internet as they are rolling out fibre to everyone. I haven't moved as I am enjoying my 1:1 contention ratio on my uncapped 5MB line.
 
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